What is Green Electricity?
Many energy companies are now offering consumers the opportunity to purchase electricity from green energy sources. These green energy sources include, wind energy, hydro energy, biomass, solar energy and will begin to include marine energy sources such as wave power, tidal stream and tidal impoundments and tidal barrages.
Renewable Energy Certificates
This separation of renewable energy from oil, gas, coal and nuclear is possible due to the Renewable Energy certificate schemes now being developed, these certificates enable units of electricity, such as MWh to be identified as soon as they are produced and fed into the national grid. All units must be accounted for both in terms of how and when they were produced and who sold them to whom.
Theoretically this means consumers can “buy” units from specific turbines, in reality the actual electrons running through a consumers meter will not have be generated by any source in particular, as generally all electricity, however it has been generated, is fed into the national grid. Buying green electricity in the manner means that you are buying up certain tokens that acknowledge that every unit you have used has been made up for from a renewable source.
Energy Trading companies can only sell an exact and finite amount of green electricity- that which they have generated themselves or bought in from other producers. In some countries such as the UK, schemes are being enforced which require energy generators to sell a certain percentage of energy generated from green power sources.